What's Happening Near You: United States

Mentor USA

The Mentor Foundation USA opened its Washington, D.C. office in 2010, with a mission to prevent drug abuse and promote health and well-being among children and youth in the United States.

Family Day 2013

Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ is a national movement that aims to promote family dinners as an effective way to reduce substance abuse among American children and young people. This year's Family Day will be celebrated on 23 September and, as always, it will be a great opportunity to promote regular family activities in order to encourage parent-child communication and to show parents the power they have to keep their kids substance-fee.


ONDCP. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), leads the President of the United States Administration's work to restore balance to U.S. drug-control efforts by coordinating government-wide public health and public safety approach to reduce drug use and its harmful consequences.

3HO Foundation

'3HO Foundation is a Global Community of Living Yoga comprised of people dedicated to living a life that uplifts and inspires. Over the past 40 years, 3HO has become a vibrant, dynamic community of leaders, teachers, students, and seekers addressing one of the greatest problems of today's world - substance abuse and addictions.

Dougie The Drug Dog

Dougie (Doug-e) The Drug Dog is an innovative programme that was created by the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI). The purpose of the programme is to provide families, schools, and communities with a multi-pronged approach to educating and reducing prescription drug abuse. Dougie provides parents, educators, and others the ability to provide quality, positive, and age appropriate information for kids 2-10 years of age.

The Parent Toolkit

The Parent Toolkit at Partnership at Drugfree.org is designed to motivate and equips parents to prevent children from using drugs and alcohol, and to find help and treatment for family and friends in trouble. The website provides a variety of interactive tools that translate the latest science and research on teen behaviour, addiction and treatment into easy to understand tips and tools. The website is available in both Spanish and English.

Young marijuana smokers at risk of permanently damaging their brains

Teens who smoke marijuana may permanently damage their brains and increase their risk of developing serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, according to a new study. American researchers exposed young mice to very low doses of marijuana for 20 days. When fully grown, the mice exhibited impaired cognitive abilities and the neuron activities in the frontal part of their brains, the area most affected in schizophrenia, altered significantly. These changes did not occur when the experiment was repeated solely on adult mice. 'The striking finding is that, even though the mice were exposed to very low drug doses, and only for a brief period during adolescence, their brain abnormalities persisted into adulthood', said the study’s lead author, Sylvina Mullins Raver. Another interesting study we covered earlier this year found that young people at risk of schizophrenia can speed up onset of the condition by one year for every illicit drug they take.


Cannabis and the teen brain: implications for prevention and policy

Researchers from Montreal and New York have reviewed 120 studies, concluding that teenage use of cannabis has a 'far reaching' effect on adult behaviours, and that certain types of individuals are particularly vulnerable. Key factors include genetic background, intensity of use and age. Only a minority (about 1 in 4) of teenagers using cannabis will develop an abusive or dependent relationship with the drug. The authors argue that genetic and psychological screening could identify these vulnerable adolescents to enable targeted prevention and early intervention. The adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to developing addictions and other long term effects from cannabis, such as lower IQ, psychosis and wider drug use. Cannabis is increasingly available in the USA and elsewhere, and many teens see little harm in its use.


Students' drinking habits formed in first six weeks at university

Drinking habits of US teens who just started college are often formed in their first six weeks, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). In this time new students may often start drinking or increase the amount of alcohol they drink because of social pressures and increased freedom. In many cases students already have experience with alcohol by the time they start college, despite the legal drinking age in the US being 21. According to Aaron White from NIAAA, 'colleges more or less inherit the problem than create it, but the college environment can nurture (it), certainly.' About 4 out of 5 college students drink alcohol, according to NIAAA and about half of those who drink also engage in binge drinking. An estimated 1,825 college students between the ages of 18-24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.


Battles over graphic packaging of cigarettes in US: interesting resource

This resource published by an American law firm provides an interesting review of the current state of play in battles over cigarette packaging in the USA. It includes examples of packaging, battles in 2013, and the current legal situation. Earlier this year the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stepped down from a lawsuit with the tobacco companies.


Under-age drinkers do not copy adult drink choices

This research found that under-age drinkers' favourite brands were different from adult preferences. This raises important questions about youth drinking. 'Future research is urgently needed to understand to what extent other factors such as price, taste and marketing play a role in young people’s choices of these particular brands,' said study co-author David Jernigan, CAMY director. 'Follow-up studies will allow us to measure the degree of association between exposure to alcohol advertising and marketing efforts and brand preferences in young people.' Although set in the USA, the general conclusions may well be relevant elsewhere.


Joseph Revard

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Seattle Central Community College
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I am currently enrolled in the Chemical Dependency Specialist program @ Seattle Central Community College, and will graduate this year.

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I have never had any kind of international collaboration with researchers, practitioners or institutions.

US teens targeted by alcohol advertising in magazines

The most popular alcohol brands among US youth are the ones most often featured in advertisements in teenage magazines, according to a new study. Their ads are found to be five to nine times more likely to appear in those magazines. Leading researcher Craig Ross of Virtual Media Resources warns parents of the effects of alcohol ads on young adults, “Parents should take note that scientific evidence is growing that exposure to alcohol advertising promotes drinking initiation, and is likely to increase the frequency of consumption for kids already drinking”. Along with a group of researchers he called for developing standards that would limit alcohol advertising to magazines with less than 15% of young people among its readership.


Underage drinkers’ favourite alcohol brands are heavily advertised in magazines http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/underage-drinkers-favorite-alcohol...

Harm Reduction Coalition

Harm Reduction Coalition is a national advocacy and capacity-building organization that works to promote the health and dignity of individuals and communities who are impacted by drug use. Our efforts advance harm reduction policies, practices and programs that address the adverse effects of drug use including overdose, HIV, hepatitis C, addiction, and incarceration.

What teen brain studies reveal about future alcohol use

Teen brain scans may be able to determine future alcohol abuse. This new study attempted to see if brain changes in teens might predict alcohol problems later in life. Researchers scanned the brains of 135 preteen and teen boys and girls (average age 12.6) who had never had an alcoholic drink. They conducted MRI’s and focused on the brain’s executive control network (ECN) which processes things like emotion, impulsivity, and self-control. Parents also filled out a questionnaire about their teen’s behaviour.

“We know impaired functioning in the ECN is linked to an earlier age of drinking onset and higher frequency of drinking, but it was unclear whether this dysfunction occurred before drinking or was a consequence of alcohol use,” Project Researcher Tomas Clarke of Georgetown University Medical Center said in a news release. The study concluded that children with fewer connections in the ECN are at a higher risk for alcohol abuse later in life. "What this study is attempting to do is identify the differences in the brains of adolescents who go on to misuse alcohol and other drugs," said the Research Project’s Director Dr. John VanMeter, from Georgetown University. "If we know what is different, we may be able to develop strategies that can prevent the behaviour."


37th National Conference of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse

The Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) is organising its 37th National Conference entitled 'Innovations for Meeting New Challenges'. The event will aim to bring together researchers and health professional educators to learn about scientific advances and exemplary teaching approaches in the substance abuse field. On-line registration will open soon. Registration fees apply.


From Binge to Blackout

'From Binge to Blackout' is a book about drinking problems today in the USA, written from the viewpoints of both mother and son. It tells a true story of a family able to confront the fear, pain, and denial related to alcohol addiction.